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Things I learnt after three weeks with grandkids

(51 Posts)
Brownsgirl Tue 08-Jan-19 11:44:14

Spending Christmas with my son and family was never going to be easy. We had ups and downs. Staying in an air b n b worked well for first 10days and was very comfortable and friendly . Gave all space. My second grandson timed his arrival the first full day I was there . So I minded my other 2 grandkids and had to sleep over. My son stressed out and tired yelled at me in front of kids o my third day there over something stupid I did accidentally. Not a great start. Over the holiday the older kids had coughs I threw up totally out of the blue on New Years Day just as my daughter in laws mother, brother and grandmother arrived and was ill for 24 hrs. So stayed away from them all. Caught a bug that was going around. I was on my own New Years Eve as whole family including baby were at friends for party. Nana not invited. I had one drink all evening.Went to bed at twenty past 12. Baby took ill two days later and into hospita viral meningitis caused by Enterovirus in his spinal fluid. My son off work and back and forth to hospital . He then lit into me again while talking . He was drinking . I had said I could stay longer if need be to mind kids and we were discussing me moving near them. He then said I had “ thrown money and presents at kids” yet acknowledged I had done more with them and taken them more places than rest of grandparents except PaternalGrandfather who takes them twice A week. He then gave off to me about my ex husband his father and criticised me for staying near him and protecting my ex for years after divorce. Said I should have taken him and gone back home when he was young. He was very bitter and although has said this before... much angrier. My son absolutely adores his wife and kids . He has a lovely home and a great job . However has nothing good to say about either set of parents and keeps saying they have learnt from our parents mistakes. I will be back to them of course but I don’t want to ever stay with them again and I will probably move back nearer to take grandkids regularly while still working. I can not fix my mistakes.. I did best I could as a single mum. My son does know that deep down . Back home again and it’s so quiet. My baby grandson was home 2 hours before I left and sleeping so never got to hold him. He is perfectly fine now. My other grandson had been sick all night and was sleeping my social butterfly grand daughter was too busy to say bye properly . They had detached from me all morning till I left. Home to a very quiet flat on my own. Being a long distance grandparent is hardworking.

muffinthemoo Tue 08-Jan-19 11:50:39

How is the new baby doing now?? The parents must have been demented with worry. Is he expected to make a full recovery?

sodapop Tue 08-Jan-19 13:19:51

I'm sorry to hear your baby grandson was so ill Brownsgirl it must have been a worrying time for all of you. Good to hear he has recovered now.
Christmas can be stressful without the added concerns of a birth and subsequent illness. I would not take things too much to heart, your son was lashing out due to worry etc.
It was a shame you were left alone on NY eve, people can be thoughtless . Maybe you could get together with your son now things have settled down and sort out your concerns.

mumofmadboys Tue 08-Jan-19 16:32:49

I wouldn't take to heart things said under the influence of alcohol. It is so easy to blame parents for things. Hs sounds as if he is a good husband and dad. You have provided some of the building bricks for him to become who he is now.
Stop brooding over it all and let it go!!

notanan2 Tue 08-Jan-19 16:43:09


There are some family members who I like to see but will NOT share overnight accommodation with. I book myself into a (different) premier inn near the action. That way you can retreat if things get tense and are not a captive audience for bad moods.

MawBroon Tue 08-Jan-19 16:48:22

Oh dear it sounds like the Christmas from hell!
Christmas is often a time for family bust-ups, not just on Eastenders. The baby’s illness will have been a huge additional worry, of course you would not have wished to disturb him for you to have a cuddle!
I hope you can put it behind you and move forward -at a safe distance!

amberdogxK9 Tue 08-Jan-19 17:10:44

Help ! Our grandson aged 2 and three quarters is not sleeping . Daughter has demanding full time job - as does her partner - he takes his fair share in every way. During periods where her partner works nights we have grandson when he’s not at Nursery . He’s a very insistent little chap and feels it his due to sleep in their bed . When his father on nights or not . Unfortunately he has got away with this quite a few times . They both now realise the error of their ways . I slept over last night just to observe and listen unless called in to assist . Mummy I want you - come here ! Over and over before determined crying . Daughter scared of gs falling whilst scaling baby gate so goes to him - takes him back to his bed - over and over to no avail. One very exhausted Mum now. We are having him stat tonight - any advice apart fro hit the gin ?

amberdogxK9 Tue 08-Jan-19 17:13:36

You sound lovely and are doing your best . Think of yourself a bit more x

MissAdventure Tue 08-Jan-19 17:14:33

I think your daughter needs to persevere, and it will work.
Regardless of whether your son in law is at home or not, if the rule is that your grandson stays in his own bed, then he should be put back into it.
No eye contact, no conversation; just back into his bed.

Farmor15 Wed 09-Jan-19 18:31:13

amberdogxK9 I think you might get more replies if you started a separate thread on your daughter’s issue with son’s sleeping. However, different parents have different approaches to bed sharing. We had 5 children and all went through phases of coming into our bed at night. We usually didn’t try to put them back in own bed, and we all went to sleep again quickly and never felt it disturbed our nights too much.
We have 2 grandchildren whose parents started bedsharing from the start, but it seems to cause them more broken sleep. But that was their choice. But if I babysit overnight, I have to sleep in bed with them because that’s what the children are used to. Fortunately it’s not often.

dragonfly46 Wed 09-Jan-19 18:57:56

Brownsgirl indeed a Christmas from hell.
I am so sorry to hear the new baby was so ill. That must have been horrendous for all the family.

I am a little surprised that they went out and left you on NYE. I would never have done that to my MiL. She often stayed over NY and we either took her with us or stayed at home.

I wouldn't worry too much on your DS taking it out on you. That is what happens in families when they spend a long time together.

My DiL's mother stayed with them for 10days over Christmas whereas we stayed round the corner in an AirBnB and stayed three days. She told me she nearly left on Christmas eve as she had a row with her daughter and I nearly said well maybe you were there too long. You can have too much of a good thing. My DiL wanted to arrange when we left when we would see them again which was very nice.

Maybe moving nearer them is the answer but make sure they are not thinking of moving on at a later date.

I am sure in times to come they will remember last Christmas as being the one new baby was so ill and not have anything to do with you.

Cherrytree59 Wed 09-Jan-19 19:04:26

When my little grandsons stay over. (Both together in a double bed) usually sometime after midnight one of them will wake up and call out.
To stop the other one waking I usually have to get into bed to settle him back down.
Just as one falls a sleep the other wakes so easier just to stay with them.

Brownsgirl Wed 09-Jan-19 20:12:27

Baby doing well and got sent picture of him all right eyed and alert with his siblings. Yes was stressful for everyone and yes I know my son under stress and lack of sleep . On the way to airport he talked away as if nothing happened . I was a bit hurt about New Years Eve but also know they were at their friends and no one was over age of 35 . At 60 + I would probably been uncomfortable. Just hope everyone gets well . Next time will stay in own place or with my sister in law who lives there. She wasn’t happy watching what was going on and was anoyed I did not stay there. She hD enough stress from her family going on over Christmas.

dragonfly46 Wed 09-Jan-19 21:14:43

Brownsgirl there’s your answer - stay with your sister in law in future. It seems it would be the best solution all round!

dollyjo Thu 10-Jan-19 09:58:34

I have a strong relationship with my 2 sons but when the going gets tough for either of them, it is me who gets it in the neck.
I think it is always hurt the one you love.
Think to the future, you are now prepared for your next visit to them by making alternative arrangements.
Well done
Perhaps there should be a support group for people who are having a bad experience at Christmas. I certainly needed it this year..

sarahcyn Thu 10-Jan-19 09:58:55

amberdogxK9 I'm a sleep consultant and I would say your gs's parents are on the right lines for ending the habit of getting into parents' bed - they just need to carry on being consistent and consider a reward system for staying quietly in his own bed.
If the babygate can be climbed over and it's not stopping any other occupant of the house such as a cat, they should get rid of it.

Coconut Thu 10-Jan-19 10:01:21

Brownsgirl .... sounds like some past unresolved issues here and they often continue to rise to the surface until you are able to chat and both draw a line in the sand. If you cannot chat because f distance, maybe an email, refer to past mistakes on both sides, admit if you had made wrong decisions etc if indeed you did. He says he has learnt from his parents mistakes, but he will also make mistakes of his own, none of us is the perfect parent, much is trial and error. Let him know that you wish to draw a line in the sand, to move forward etc and ask him how he would like to do this so that you can all have a happy and healthy relationship together. Good luck ....

maxdecatt Thu 10-Jan-19 10:01:57

At the next opportunity (birthdays, Easter, Christmas) do not give any presents and do not respond to their messages. They will begin to feel ignored. When they finally move their backsides and go out of their way to contact you simply say you love them dearly and they are definitely on the list of people you need to contact and you will get around to them as soon as you have the time.

LuckyFour Thu 10-Jan-19 10:21:59

Don't move nearer to your family, try to cultivate a life for yourself where you live now. Join a reading group or social club or knitting group etc. somewhere where people sit and chat and make new friends. The family will use you for convenience but as time goes on they won't need you so much and you'll be left on your own with no friends. Look after yourself, be pleasant to your family, never argue with them, just allow yourself a bit of distance from them. Don't wallow in it, get some friends. Keep smiling through!

sarahanew Thu 10-Jan-19 10:32:38

Just the roller coaster of family life

Annaram1 Thu 10-Jan-19 10:33:04

I am sorry Brownsgirl that you had a bad Christmas and new year. And about all the illness and bad feelings. I hope that things improve for you this year.
We used to host foreign students, About 7 years ago we had a girl from Prague and her very large 9 year old son, We put him in our smallest bedroom, which is next to the one she had. They were with us for 2 weeks, during which time the boy slept in her bed every night. Apparently this was normal. She told us that at home her husband slept in another room while Adam shared her bed. I told her this was not normal at the age of 9.
Unexpectedly I got an email from at Christmas saying that Adam is now at school in Canada. He is now 6ft 3 and has a beard, and when he is back home he no longer sleeps in her bed . Not sure quite when he stopped that !!

Izabella Thu 10-Jan-19 10:37:11

Brownsgirl if its any help I will share my Xmas experience with you. We stayed with son (my stepson) and DIL. Previously the DIL had got on my nerves with her exclusion of other family members apart from her own mother. However, having seen them together for a period of time I have changed my attitude. Yes - they still exclude people, but so close is her relationship with her own mother (and long standing obviously) I genuinely believe they do not actually realise they are excluding others.

She still irritates me for various reasons but distance and my new new realisation will make it easier to cope with. As for next Xmas, sunnier climes beckon grin

WeeMadArthur Thu 10-Jan-19 10:38:59

Christmas seems to bring out the worst in people, I would cut them some slack especially as there was a sick baby involved. What was the accident you were shouted at for? I do understand though why you didn’t go to the New Years party, as you had been sick yourself. I do wish more people would have the sense to avoid gatherings when they are sick, our whole family went down with norovirus once because a relative didn’t want to miss a party.

MadeInYorkshire Thu 10-Jan-19 10:39:21

We had this with my daughter who is now almost 26 .... It was horrendous as she also had colic up to 17 months too! We had a good book at the time called Toddler Taming, and read about controlled crying. It worked for us but you do need to be consistent - it took us about a week/10 days from what I can remember ... this is the up-to-date version I think?

The one issue we had was that she would get up and come to the top of the stairs, so it was recommended at the time (am not too sure how appropriate it might be nowadays???) that we tie the door to her room so that she could open it and look out, but not be able to exit it, and it did do the trick!

Good luck!

grandtanteJE65 Thu 10-Jan-19 10:46:40

How distressing it all must have been. Right now, try not to worry about it too much.

The baby's birth and then serious illness has been upsetting for you all, so perhaps your son's anger was mainly due to that. I do hope the baby is progressing well.

Was he only drinking to cope in this stressful situation, or is he a habitual drinker? If the former, let it go, if the latter, you might later need to talk to him about it.

Don't make any decisions about moving nearer to them right now. If you do decide to do so, I suggest you have a serious, quiet talk to your son about guidelines. If you are to help with the children you need to know his and his wife's ground rules, but you have the right not to be yelled at if you make mistakes, and certainly not in front of the grandchildren.

If you do talk to him, try to make him understand that whatever happened when he was a child may have been the wrong decision to make, but presumably you found it, if not the right one then, the only one. He needs to move on now.
In hindsight, ten days is perhaps too long a visit.